Election Week “Baker’s Dozen” of Mental Well-Being Tips

If you don’t have a plan for taking care of your mental well-being this week, I invite you to do so today. What can you do more of that fills your bucket? Here are some ideas:

1. Turn up the volume and take a music break.

Whether it is soothing ambient tunes, rage releasing metal, inspiring protest anthems, or something completely different, music has the power to help us release emotions in healthy ways.

2. Take a walk or run around the neighborhood.

Stay present during your excursion. Give yourself a scavenger hunt of things to notice: count squirrels, look for chess players in the park, notice if you see your breath in the November air…what else do you notice?

3. Find space and time to be mindful.

Whether it is guided meditation (lots of good options on @youtube or @calm) or just giving yourself time to pause throughout the day, mindful helps us stay grounded.

4. Take breathing breaks. (The long, slow kind, not the hyperventilating kind.)

Inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, and exhale for a count of 8. Extending the exhale helps to calm an anxious nervous system.

5. Sweat. Do something physical to raise your heart rate.

Exercise burns off cortisol and adrenaline (the stress hormones) and increases endorphins (the feel-good hormones).

6.Cuddle, hold hands, hug, be intimate, and simply be close to those you love*.

We are touch-deprived right now because of the pandemic. Physical touch and closeness can help us feel connected, safe, and at ease.

*Remember: Consent is required

7. Check-in with friends.

Choose a handful of people you can turn to this week who will support your well-being. Someone who can make you laugh, someone who you can be vulnerable with, someone who listens without judgment, someone who can be honest with you.

8. Get enough rest.

Sleep can be elusive during stressful times. Take the added pressure off of “OMG…I need to fall asleep!!” Instead, simply make it your goal to rest. Get rid of distractions, make your space comfortable, drink some herbal tea, and simply let your body rest.

9. Media and digital detox.

Oh boy…this is my downfall. Set down the phone and turn off the TV at least for a little bit each day. Notice if there is a time of day that news makes you more anxious? Then avoid it during those vulnerable times. For me? No news before bedtime.

9. Avoid too much alcohol.

Not only can it lead to distorted thoughts and decision impairment, it inhibits restful sleep and can actually cause increased anxiety the following day.

11. It’s ok to ask for help.

There are national and local crisis lines available 24/7. It’s ok to not be ok.

National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255 @SuicideHotline_

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

12. Maintain healthy boundaries.

It’s ok to avoid conversations and people you know will be particularly triggering this week. It’s ok to say, “I don’t want to talk about this right now.” It’s ok to not engage in unhealthy dynamics.

13. Do something that brings you joy and makes you laugh! And also cry!

Schitt’s Creek is the show that is doing it for me. @SchittsCreek

The comedian Fortune Feimster @fortunefunny makes me laugh until I nearly cry.

And did I really say cry? Yes!

Like, REALLY cry it out. Did you know that the tears we cry from emotion are different than tears we cry from pain? It contains higher levels of cortisol. We are literally shedding stress through our tears.

And if this “bakers dozen” of tips doesn’t help. Try a real baker’s dozen! Just kidding. Don’t do that. There IS such a thing as too many doughnuts. Trust me. I know…

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